Mary Leonard, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, has said the visa ban placed on Nigeria and other countries was temporary and could be resolved if the conditions that necessitated the ban are met by the Federal Government.
Leonard made this known on Tuesday when she visited Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment in Abuja.
She listed information sharing goals as one of the terms that must be fulfilled before the ban can be reversed, adding that the ban was based on her country’s concerns over the need for information sharing and not about character definition.
The ambassador said: “I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently is in the United States.
“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing, which are investigable, achievable and resolveable, and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed.”
Noting the industrious endowment of Nigerians at home and abroad, she said the country has the ingenuity to diversify the economy.
“I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and it is people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.
The minister described as shocking the inclusion of Nigeria in the list of countries under the U.S. travel ban. According to Ngige, the ban was unwarranted because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the U.S. economy.
He said: “Some of these Nigerians are medical doctors, engineers and people with high level of proficiency in oil and gas fields.
“They were all part of the Nigerian residents in the U.S. and it came to us as a rude shock when the U.S. government banned Nigerians and put us in the list of those countries whose residency status been cancelled.”
Ngige urged the U.S. ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and have it reversed.